|Cape Elephant Shrew (Kaapse Klipklaasneus - Elephantulus edwardii) camera trapped with the BirdCam 2.0 at Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve|
The BirdCam 2.0 was my "small mammal specialist" camera trap. It wasn't very good as a conventional trail camera, but it was amazing when used to target small critters in a fixed area.
|BirdCam 2.0 placed under a large boulder|
The best thing about the camera, by far, was its white flash. It was simply amazing and could be used even at close range. The camera didn't have any autofocus capabilities, but the adjustable fixed focus helped.
The worst things about the camera must surely be the build quality and strange trigger speed. It simply wasn't as tough as other conventional trail cameras. For example the LED setup screen stopped working long ago. As a result, for the past few years I just turned the camera on and hoped for the best.
This is the third camera trap I'm retiring, and to be honest I have no idea what camera to replace it with... I'm not aware of any good white flash camera traps on the market, particularly ones that can be used to photograph small mammals... (Having color night photographs can help a lot with identification.)
|Not perfect, but good enough|
I'm really glad that the camera produced some decent photographs of the Cape Elephant Shrew before finally getting retired.
The Cape Elephant Shrew was one of the species at the top of my wish list for Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, and I was thrilled when I saw one in person on my very first day at the reserve.
|Cape Elephant Shrew sitting in a small hollow on top of a huge boulder|
Despite their name the Cape Elephant Shrews are not a type of Shrew at all, nor are they a type of Rodent. They are in fact related to Golden Moles, Aardvarks, Dassies and even Elephants. These animals are all members of the Afrotheria, which represents a group of mammals that are associated with originating from the African continent.
As with the Golden Moles, the Elephant Shrews are still somewhat shrouded in mysterious, although fortunately to a lesser extent. For example, many sources claim that Elephant Shrews, in general, are diurnal, but other sources say the Cape Elephant Shrew is nocturnal. However, I've been camera trapping these little critters during the day and night, equally. I found one source that claimed they were crepuscular (preferring twilight), but that seems a bit off as well...
|Activity pattern of Cape Elephant Shrew camera trapped, thus far, at Paarl Mountain|
I suspect there is still much we can learn about these cute little guys.